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Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review: "The Ring Makes All the Difference" (Glenn Stanton)

TITLE: The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage
AUTHOR: Glenn T. Stanton
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2011, (160 pages).

Fewer people are getting married. More are preferring to cohabit. Fewer people want to be tied down to any long-term relationships, preferring instead to short-term ones. Unfortunately, the statistics show that cohabitation is worse for any relationships. In a book that is a clarion call against the temptation of cohabitation instead of marriage, Stanton conveniently brings together scientific research and social studies that consistently proves that cohabitation is a bad idea.

In chapter one, Stanton traces the origins of cohabitation, that while it is an old idea, the reasons are different. Long ago, people cohabit because of a lack of ministers to conduct the marriage. Nowadays, people cohabit because they have a low view of marriage. In chapter two, the author raises the question of what couples are looking for in a relationship, and proves that cohabitation does not meet their real needs. In chapter three, Stanton gives about 9 reasons why cohabitation is worse than marriage.

  1. Cohabitation has no glue to link the relationship;
  2. Cohabitation results in a lack of desire to invest in the relationship financially
  3. Cohabitation lacks the advantage of strong supporting friends of married couples
  4. Cohabiting couples are twice as likely to experience domestic violence than married couples
  5. Cohabiting couples are twice as likely to cheat on each other; men 4x more than husbands, and women 8x more than wives;
  6. Cohabitation does not lead to building up of wealth, unlike marital couples who combine their resources more readily
  7. Cohabitating couples, especially men, are less likely to do house chores
  8. Cohabitation carries higher risk. Just check out life and auto insurance premiums for non-marrieds.
  9. Cohabitation is mere togetherness, while marriage is commitment

I appreciate chapter 4 which deals with a popular reason people cohabit. Test driving a relationship by living together is plain folly. The statistics show that there are higher divorce rates if the couple do eventually marry, relationships are dysfunctional, lack of commitment during cohabitation brought later into the marriage, and that cohabitation treats each other like products rather than persons. Chapter 5 deals with the negative effects of cohabitation on children, and chapter 6 talks about how marriage contributes to general physical and mental health. Chapter 7 digs into the erroneous thinking behind cohabitation, and interestingly traces the roots to the feminist movement. Abortion, sexual promiscuity and cohabitation are linked to radical feminist ideas. Chief reason for the flaw in cohabitation thinking is the different expectations of men and women.

"Women are consistently more likely to see their cohabiting relationships as a conveyor belt eventually leading to marriage. And for most women, better sooner than later. Guys were more likely to see their cohabiting relationships as the opportunity to see each other more often, have fun together, feel taken care of by their gal, and gain access to more regular sex. For men, marriage wasn't off the table, but it could come later. And 'later' usually continues to get even later. The guys were having fun today - getting largely what they want - so why rush things?" (114)
Chapter 8 and 9 provides a wonderful exhortation to encourage people to maintain a high view on marriage. Marriage is more than a wedding, more than getting a soul mate, more than happily ever after, more than oneself, etc. In a nutshell, if a relationship is important, why settle for a lesser relationship (cohabitation). Press toward a higher one: Marriage.

This book is an important contribution to the institution of marriage. Young people nowadays are increasingly tempted to choose the path of cohabitation without critical thinking. This book provides the necessary scientific, psychological, social, and religious perspectives that proves that cohabitation is a bad idea. For all the flaws of marriages nowadays, it is still the best institution in relationships.


This book is provided to me free by NetGalley and Moody Press without any obligation for a positive review. The comments are freely mine.


  1. Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful review. Would you mind re-posting your review or key parts of it at "The Ring"'s amazon page?

    I would be most thankful!


  2. Sure Glenn. Here it is: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2VZL1KRFG9WD9/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm